By Siddhi Jain
March 28, 2020 (IANSlife) As people struggle to cope with the feelings of loneliness, anxiety, frustration, and a fear of what’s coming next, e-consults focussed on mental health are gradually picking pace. With the country in lockdown and people stuck at home due to the Coronavirus many find it unable to cope with the constraint, fear and anxiety, be it for their welfare, businesses or for the future.
A first of its kind premium mental healthcare facility, Sukoon aims to alleviate anxiety during the curfew by opening telephonic and messaging facilities to citizens across India. The online counseling service not just for patients but any citizen who is feeling anxious, depressed or helpless at home during these times. Sukoon health is gearing up for a formal opening and will soon be backed by Fortis. In the meanwhile, it has set up a 24/7 service for anyone who wants to chat and share their stress with a health care professional.
Vidit Bahri, who co-founded Sukoon Healthcare - a Gurugram-based Super Specialty Hospital focused on mental health - with Kanishk Gupta, says they have received close to 40 calls in the past one week from people seeking stress-based and relationship-based guidance in these trying times.
“We’ve had a virtual therapy option live since the last four months, but only 10 percent of people would opt for that. Because mental health is so personal, the physical contact you have with your therapist goes a long way. In India, taking on a new patient and issuing medicine prescriptions online is not allowed. But, the government has allowed telemedicine." “Because we are minimising social contact in the Coronavirus crisis, almost all of our patients have shifted online, and new people are calling in to seek help as well,” Bahri told IANSlife over telephone. Sukoon has a team of clinical psychologists, psychiatrists, and art-based therapists - who consult online, along with in-patient at their facility.
Virtual therapy entails identifying the caller’s concerns, matching them to a suitable psychologist or counsellor, noting the mental health conditions, risk factors, and working through a possible resolution - on a case-to-case basis.
As demands for affordable healthcare emerges, especially among millennials and younger people, the facility is keeping its hourly session costs between Rs 500 and Rs 2000. The tele-counselling services are available via Skype, Zoom or via a phone call.
Bahri also lists a few tips to help everyone stay calm, while they stay indoors.
Follow a routine as close as possible to your regular lifestyle. Try and maintain some semblance of structure from the pre-quarantine days. For those individuals with children, sticking to a routine might be easier; however as you work from home, it could be tempting to fall into a more lethargic lifestyle, which could lead to negative thinking. Wake up and go to bed around the same time, eat meals, shower, adapt your exercise regimen, and get out of your pyjamas.
Re-organise space in your house to accommodate for the constraints of the current living situation on maintaining a healthy and regular routine. With all the uncertainty happening outside your home, keep the inside organized, predictable and clean. A cluttered home can cause you to become uneasy and claustrophobic of your environment, so keep it tidy.
Limit the duration of consuming content related to COVID-19. Set specific time limits on news watching In case you feel your social media is full of Coronavirus-related content, consider taking a break and limiting the amount of time spent on social media. Unfollow accounts that tend to trigger negative emotions.
Utilise board games, listen to upbeat or calming music, and engage in movies, gardening, painting, drawing, and dancing.
Connect with others. While social distancing can make everyone feel more alone, actively avoid the trap by getting in touch with your dear ones and reducing the sense of perceived isolation.
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Siddhi Jain can be contacted at email@example.com